Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Brexit, Stage Risk

Brexit is making big news and big waves. Here are some of the latest stories on this significant development:

"Law Firms Face Uncertain Future As Brexit Result Hits Markets" --
  • "Clifford Chance senior partner Malcolm Sweeting said the so-called Brexit will have 'serious implications,' while K&L Gates’ European managing partner Martin Lane said it will 'create shockwaves across the globe.'"
    "Law firms are braced for a period of intense activity, with lawyers already receiving floods of inquiries from clients trying to figure out what the result means for their businesses... The longer-term impact of the unprecedented move is unknown, however."
"Brexit A Bonanza For London Law Firms ... For Now" --
  • "The U.K.’s seismic decision to be the only country to leave the 28-nation bloc will keep law firms busy helping clients cope as the U.K. unwinds four decades of legal and regulatory integration with the EU and negotiates its new relationship. The complex and potentially rancorous divorce process is likely to run for years and will provide ample opportunity for firms to rack up billable hours."
  • "The downside for London legal powerhouse firms is that, in the long term, London could lose its status as the European entry port for global legal services if the country is denied future access to the EU’s single market for financial and legal services."
"Seven ways Brexit will impact international law firms" --

  • "Most major firms are running 24-hour hotlines to deal with the massive levels of client demand. Once this initial frenzy subsides, lawyers will then play a crucial role in helping clients navigate one of the largest programmes of regulatory and legislative reform ever seen. The event has once again shown the degree to which the legal sector is insulated against wider economic and market malaise."
  • "While trade, regulatory and financial services lawyers can ‘look forward' to 80-hour weeks for the foreseeable future, transactional lawyers may be left checking to see if their phones are still working."
  • "Transactional practices are key drivers of law firm revenue generation. That engine is now likely to splutter. The sort of advisory work that firms did in the run-up to Brexit can be profitable and is a great way of strengthening relationships with clients. But it doesn't bolster the bottom line in the same way as big-ticket transactions, which can keep entire floors of lawyers across multiple practice areas busy for months."
  • "One London-based partner joked that the UK, traditionally home to some of the world's most expensive lawyers, may now become a 'low cost jurisdiction.'"
  • "One of the more esoteric effects of a Brexit is that lawyers risk losing their rights to European Union (EU) professional legal privilege. This is of particular concern to UK competition lawyers, who may also no longer have the right to plead before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg."

"Comment: Brexit and the Legal IT sector impact" --
  • "The consensus appears to be that law firms will experience an upturn in inquiries regarding the impact of Brexit, translating into short term advisory opportunities, but that in the medium term transactional work will inevitably be adversely affected, mitigated only slightly by work undertaken as clients reposition themselves and the future shape of the UK’s trade relationships begins to be known. And then finally we will settle into a new, and as yet unknown, normal."
  • "The longer term outlook will be quite interesting and will I think be a bellwether that could inform us as to exactly how much law firm leadership has really changed in the last 10 years. Or not, as the case may be."
  • "Moving forward to the last few years however we have seen investment and innovation apparently being embraced by law firms as they seek to cope with the challenging circumstances brought about by globalisation, the 2008 ‘crisis’ fallout, Jackson reforms, sustainable cost reduction, ABAs and the new IT landscape of AI, SSaS and ‘the cloud’… plus others. In many ways Legal IT has been an enabler in this, and there have been undoubted opportunities for the sector as law firms have realised that not changing in a changing world is really not an option."

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